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May 29

Series Saturday - Louise Penny's Chief Inspector Armand Gamache

Posted on May 29, 2018 at 8:01 PM by Lindsey Kult

Gamache Series Collage with the book covers up until glass houses

You might have already heard of this week’s Series Saturday from Susan or Mary - it’s Louise Penny’s Chief Inspector Armand Gamache series (originally was called Three Pines series, but changed when she expanded past the little village). These books are excellent mysteries that both cozy-mystery and classic-mystery readers will enjoy! There is not much violence or sex, but there is strong language. Speaking of language... these books are set in Québec, where there is still tension between English-speaking Canadians (Anglos) and French-speaking Canadians. You will frequently run across simple French sentences. After book 6, Penny includes the translations for these sentences in the dialogue; but don’t let that discourage you from reading the first 5 books! Nothing vital to the plot is in French, and can easily be understood through context. Due to the sprinkling of French, you might want to listen to the audiobook versions of these books (We have all of these books available on OverDrive as well). The narrator is excellent and adds further context to the dialogue.



Location in Howard Miller:

Mystery, MYS PENNY Setting: Quebec and Three Pines in Canada

Meet the Characters:

Chief Inspector Armand Gamache of the Sûreté du Québec is a kind, complex man who isn’t ashamed to say, “I’m sorry.” “I don’t know.” and “I need help.” He is an enjoyable character who embraces his flaws and you care for him even more because of these flaws. Despite this, Gamache has made many enemies during his years in the Sûreté. Luckily, those who stand with him are incredibly loyal. Gamache tries to see the good in everyone he encounters and takes the troubled and frustrated under his wing.

The village of Three Pines is a character as much as it is a setting. Penny describes the small and quiet village in such loving terms that you can’t help but love it as well. It has a rich history, and a very ...unique population (see below).

Jean Guy Beauvoir has been Gamache’s second-in-command for many years and sees Gamache as a father figure. Beauvoir is not exactly likeable. He’s surly and quick to judge. As a reader, you won’t necessarily dislike him - but you will see the contrast between Beauvoir and his supervisor.

Yvette Nichol is a troublemaker. You’ll never fully understand where she’s coming from or her intentions. She’s been wronged numerous times and doesn’t trust easily.

Peter and Clara Morrow are married artists living in Three Pines. Peter has always been the more successful of the pair; but Clara is finally finding her talent and it has created tension.

Ruth Zardo is a hilarious, cranky, nasty old woman who is secretly one of the world’s greatest poets. She hides her soft side under layers of anger and sarcasm. She is one of Gamache’s favorite residents of Three Pines because he understands her emotional pain. Like Gamache, she collects the troubled and needy and protects them. Unlike Gamache, she only does this if the troubled and needy are not human, but animals.

Myrna Landers, Gabriel Dubeau, and Olivier Brulé are business owners in Three Pines. They’re best friends with Ruth, Peter, and Clara. Gabriel and Olivier are a married gay couple. Gabriel is a sassy firecracker who likes to stir up trouble. Myrna is a retired psychologist who now owns the local bookstore. Gamache occasionally visits her for insight.

Number in the Series:

There are currently 13 books in the series. Some fans of the series say that you can start reading at #8, but we think they’re best read in order. We cannot guarantee that they are all available in the library, but they are all on OverDrive

  1. Still Life
  2. A Fatal Grace
  3. The Cruelest Month
  4. A Rule Against Murder
  5. The Brutal Retelling
  6. Bury Your Dead
  7. A Trick of the Light
  8. The Beautiful Mystery
  9. How the Light Gets In
  10. The Long Way Home
  11. The Nature of the Beast
  12. A Great Reckoning
  13. Glass Houses

Final Word:

This series is excellent for all mystery lovers! It has the small town feel that cozy mystery lovers crave with the detective work that classic mystery readers enjoy. The characters are addictive and real. As one of our patrons put it in their Monday Book Review - the characters are living. You are pulled into their world and don’t want to leave.